Spring 2021

May 4, 2021

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In this issue...


On the Cover
Elyssa McFarland, a corn and soybean grower from Columbus Junction, wants you to remember there’s a difference between soil and dirt. “Soil is the basis of life,” says McFarland, an Iowa State University agronomy graduate who earned her master’s degrees in agronomy and soil science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Soil is what grows our food. It’s connected to everything we are.”

Executive Insights: Creating a legacy
An update on important issues from Kirk Leeds, ISA Chief Executive Officer.
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Policy Update: When the dust settles
Policy updates from Michael Dolch, ISA Director of Public Affairs.
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Regenerative Ag: A systems approach to soil health
Regenerative agriculture may seem like a buzzworthy, complicated phrase, but Roger Wolf says it’s something the Iowa Soybean Association has been helping farmers define and achieve for decades.
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Saving Time & Money: Change in weather shifts farmer's conservation trajectory
Wayne Fredericks and his wife Ruth began farming in northern Iowa in the early 1970s. For the first 19 years, their farm was managed conventionally. Corn stalks were plowed and soybean stubble was tilled before planting. It was a change in the weather that altered their conventional farming practices for the better.
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Cover Crop Simulator: New interactive tool helps farmers see costs and opportunities related to cover crops 
The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), as part of an Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Services Conservation Innovation Grant, developed an online tool to show various management strategies that can make cover crops profitable. The Cover Crop Economic Simulator also helps farmers and landowners see the cost and income opportunities available by adding cover crops.
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Patterns of Promise: Relay cropping experimentation shows potential
While Iowa farmers continue to grow large quantities of soybeans and corn each year, there has been a push to incorporate small grains back on the landscape, primarily as a cover crop. Iowa Soybean Association's Theo Guther shares insights.
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Prairie Strips: A win-win-win for farmers, communities and the environment
Every field has its trouble spots; those places within the field that the yield monitor will dip as farmers pass over them in the combine; the low spots that are too wet most years, the eroded hill tops and side hills, the sandy ridges, or the compacted turning headlands. What if there was a way to flip the script on those acres?
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Family Tradition: Preserving conservation values and legacies
The way in which farmland is transferred from one generation to the next could have a profound impact on the future of conservation efforts and of the land itself. Having a farm transition plan that includes conservation not only ensures the continuation of the farm — it also helps preserve a farmer’s conservation legacy.
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Transforming Ag Drainage: Farmers take a new look at water management
If you’re like most Iowa farmers, you have areas in your fields that never seem to drain well. What if you could put that water to work for you? A new resource called Evaluating Drainage Water Recycling Decisions (EDWRD) helps farmers estimate the potential benefits of capturing drained agricultural water in ponds or reservoirs.
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Soybean farmers named to ISA Communications Squad
Twenty-one Iowa soybean farmers have been selected to participate in the Iowa Soybean Association Communications Squad. They volunteer to communicate the importance of modern soybean production and agriculture to media, consumers, civic groups and classrooms and help represent ISA at special events.
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The Last Word: Rock Stars
Editor's notes by Ann Clinton.
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